Gary A. Barron
Class of 1973
BY WARREN THAYER: Editor, Frozen & Dairy Buyer Magazine (September, 2010)
Gary Barron has always enjoyed his
career, whether advising presidents
in the White House, or running
SheerBliss Ice Cream.
Just when I think nothing can surprise me anymore, along comes a guy who runs an ice cream company but who also worked in the White House and rubbed elbows with Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton â€” not to mention Henry Kissinger, Bob Gates, Brent Scowcroft and Ron Brown.
Truth. Gary Barron, president of SheerBliss Ice Cream, Sunrise, Fla., has an unlikely resume for his present position, but heâ€™s always been a foodie at heart. His odyssey began in 1974 when he was a political science major at American
University in Washington. He applied for an administrative assistantâ€™s job at the National Security Council, and wound up working for none other than Henry Kissinger, then the national security advisor to President Ford.
A CAREER LAUNCHED But this dream job was also full-time, so Barron agreed to write a paper about it in order to get academic credit. â€œThe only problem was that the subject matter was all classified,â€he recalls. Somehow it all worked
out, and Barronâ€™s long career in Washington was launched.He recalls Kissinger as an inspiring leader and a good delegator who tolerated few mistakes. As Kissinger transitioned into becoming Secretary of State, Barronâ€™s personal interface was with the manâ€™s successor, Gen. Brent Scowcroft.
One day when Barron was getting a drink from the office water fountain, he overheard the deputy national security advisor telling another staff member about the need for studying and rewriting the governmentâ€™s system for classifying and declassifying documents. â€œThey were saying there wasnâ€™t enough staff to get it done. I wiped the water from my lips and went over to them and volunteered to do it. They asked what I knew about it, and I said it didnâ€™t matter because I could learn it and that if they supported me, Iâ€™d do a good job for
them,â€ Barron says. â€œThe next thing you know, Iâ€™m doing the study, which came out as a presidential executive order. Rewriting the entire classification system
for the United States was one of the highlights of my career at the NSC.My partner in writing the study on a daily basis was Bob Gates, now the
Secretary of Defense.â€
Barronâ€™s success here led to his appointment as the director of the Freedom of Information Office in the White House But when his father became terminally ill, he â€œdid what any good son should do, and gave up my job to be at the bedside of my parent.â€ After his fatherâ€™s death, he worked on John Connollyâ€™s presidential
campaign with Jim Brady, who had become a close friend.
AT THE WHITE HOUSE: When Connolly dropped out of the running, Brady steered Barron to the Reagan-Bush camp, where he worked on small business
issues at the White House. Ultimately, he became the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Barronâ€™s other leadership positions included
Deputy Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, National Political
Outreach Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Executive Director of Vote Now â€™92, and board member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. He was also appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S.
Senate to the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
But after serving as treasurer of Janet Renoâ€™s run for governor of Florida, Barron decided to spend more time with his family. So in the spring of 2005, he launched SheerBliss, having fun with unique new flavor profiles packaged in metal cans. Itâ€™s a far cry from the Washington days, but â€œItâ€™s a very exciting
thing to do. Besides, whenever I say Iâ€™m in the ice cream business, people
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